All of the nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders,
The geeks and the dropouts,
Ignored Gabriel Bell.
He was loud and annoying, and never knew when to quit.
He lived for making jokes and strolling into class late
And being generally obnoxious.
At the beginning of high school, he had two friends
That were always by his side.
They weren’t as annoying.
Maybe that’s why they both eventually left him alone.
In fact, everybody left him alone
After a year had passed.
Gabriel didn’t seem to mind being friendless.
If anything, he grew more extroverted
And more cheerful.
Gabriel’s laugh was so loud that no one noticed
The cuts on his arms
And the way he would shy away from raised arms.
Gabriel was so rebellious and irritating
That when he told people the bruise on his cheek was from a fight,
Everybody accepted it.
And nobody saw
The way Gabriel was falling,
With no one to catch him.
I was the only one to notice
Gabriel’s small wince at sitting down,
The way he’d try to get detention so he could stay at school longer,
His failing smile.
I saw everything.
I guessed what he was hiding
Behind his obnoxious attitude.
But Gabriel was a labeled reject,
And I had a group of friends,
And the two don’t mix,
So I pretended not to notice.
I acted like I was as fooled as the rest of them,
And I tried not to see how Gabriel’s eyes screamed help
Whenever I looked at him.
Now I sit here
Too numb to cry,
Staring at Gabriel’s coffin
And wondering what I could’ve done.
I should have saved you, Gabriel,
I should have lifted you from your house
And taken you somewhere safe,
Somewhere where you wouldn’t feel the need
To cut yourself just so that the pain can come from your own hands.
I’m sorry that I sat by
And watched you fall,
Knowing that I could catch you if I tried,
But never reaching out.
You died alone
Without any company but your knife
And the stifled pain in your heart.
I should have been there for you,
I could have been there for you.
And I hate myself more and more
Every day that goes by without your laugh permeating the silence.
The other classmates were shocked when they heard the news.
Your ex-friends broke down in tears.
They acted broken up,
But they could have saved you.
They had known you as a kid and knew exactly
What you went through every day,
And yet they chose to turn away
When you needed them the most
Just like me.
I’m sorry, Gabriel.
I’m sorry that the world is so full of hatred
That you felt a need to escape.
I’m sorry that I didn’t show you the bright sides of life,
Didn’t take your hand and tell you “It’s going to be okay.”
I did nothing.
And now you are dead.
You are dead.
I am sorry.